Teagan has graciously agreed to an interview, so we're going to learn a bit about the backstory. I've had a preview, and I suspect you're going to love it.
Thank you, Teagan, for meeting with me today. I'm curious, what inspired you to write the story?
In late 2008 I accepted a job in Washington, DC and moved across the country. I started writing Dead of Winter in the winter of 2009 – 2010. I was still adjusting to a different culture and climate, both of which were colder. That December, my ever-repeating thought was “It’s the dead of winter out there!” I began research for a story inspired and titled by that thought. Ha! Research geek is a title I claim for myself. The more research I did, the more inspired I became.
You've certainly inspired me, but why do you refer to this novella as Journey 1?
Dead of Winter is what I call a quest-type fantasy, a high fantasy. Most of the locations in Emlyn’s world are inspired by pre-industrial Great Britain and Europe, and a few farther-flung places in the real world. I also researched all the names of the many characters and places so they would be reminiscent of those places. I loved the research of creating that part. More than 300 places and characters are mentioned in the overall story. I call the installments Journeys, because the characters travel across this complex world.
Since your protagonist sees ghosts, I just have to ask, have you seen one?
Well… yes. Lots. That answer would be a whole interview in itself. So, I’ll just say that I felt I had to “close the door” on that kind of thing when I took the job in DC. Maybe that was another inspiration for this story. I had long wanted to write a novel about a woman who could communicate with spirits. When Emlyn’s character came to me, the story had to be about a young girl, rather than a woman.
Having just read Forlorn Peak, I'm eagerly awaiting the next journey. Can you give us a glimpse of where it might take us?
How wonderful that you asked! High fantasy stories tend to escalate gradually. Most of Emlyn’s life has been spent at her family’s apple orchard, with occasional visits to their village, Llyn Coombe. Or, of course, her recent lessons with Osabide who lives at the foot of Forlorn Peak, a short walk away. In Journey 2, Emlyn goes to a neighboring village, Penllyn. Emlyn thinks it’s strange for her father to let her go with him — and we have to wonder why he did!
The effects of the Brethren’s influence become an even greater concern. We also meet more members of the Society of Deae Matres, including their most mysterious adherent. Emlyn’s exploration of the wide world is only just beginning.
What do you hope readers experience while reading the Dead of Winter series?
The Film Courage interview videos (available on YouTube) have been part of my continuous learning. I wouldn't know how to format a screenplay, but the content applies to novels. One interviewee spoke about the importance of knowing how you want the audience to feel at the end. I think that's terrific advice -- I just don't always know the answer to the question, and that’s my downfall.
I want readers to finish with a wanderlust to continue their exploration of more and different fantasy worlds. I want them to keep thinking of the stories that might happen in Emlyn’s world long after they’ve finished the concluding journey of Dead of Winter. The greatest compliment I can get is when people tell me that they still think of a story, or imagine themselves in it.
Wow, thank you, Teagan. Your story earned 5-stars from me, and I often find myself thinking about it.
A note from Teagan:
I can’t be exact about the monthly publication dates, but if you follow me at my Amazon Author Page, they should send an email whenever the next Journey publishes. By the way, I follow many authors there, and have never gotten any spam email as a result.
Universal Purchase Links:
Amazon Author Page: relinks.me/TeaganRiordainGeneviene
Teagan R. Geneviene